Halloween is like the crafter's Christmas, so how is it that this year's spooky month has crept up on me like a phantom? Here we are in October though, so it's time to whip together some quickie decorations that will thrill the kids without killing us busy parents!
We're big fans of the spooky trees in our house. They're fun to decorate, make great candy displays, and add just the right combo of cute and creepy, to pretty much any setting. Here's how you can can make your own!
Dead, Tree Branch(es)
Spray Paint OR Craft Paint & Sponge Brush
Half Ball of Dry, Florist's Foam
Unbleached Cotton, Muslin or Gauze
Jewelry Wire & Trimmers (optional)
Halloween Themed Ribbons & Trims
Needle & Thread
- Find a dead branch or (if they're smaller) branches.
- Spray or hand paint branch (if the kids are helping, I recommend the latter).
- Rip fabric into strips (so edges are frayed); then cut into workable, short pieces.
- Using your finger or a popsicle stick, spread a layer of glue over a fabric strip. Lay strip on top of foam base; spread flat. Repeat process until foam is completely covered. Let dry.
- To make a tree-dwelling spider, glue small and large black buttons, side-by-side to base. Add 8, pieces of yarn or string to create legs. Place base on a plate.
- Use scissors to puncture a hole in the top of base; push branch(es) firmly into foam.
- Make a candy corn garland by using a needle and thread to string candy and beads. It helps to tie a knot around each bead, to keep them in place. Drape garland on spooky tree; spread excess candy corn around base.
- Layer a smaller button on top of a contrasting colored, larger button. String a small piece of jewelry wire through button holes; twist wire around branch to secure it to tree. Repeat for as many button ornaments as desired.
Note: If you don't have wire; use thread or sting to tie buttons to branches.
Other Ornament Ideas
- Cut Halloween themed ribbon into varying sized pieces; randomly tie them into bows and knots throughout tree.
- Finish your spooky tree off by adding novelty webbing to any remaining, barren places on the tree.
- Plastic spiders
- Recycled doll heads
- Crocheted ghosts
- Pom-pom bats
- Construction paper or styrofoam tombstones
Hope your October is spooktacular!
Craft Apparently Yours,Vickie
One of my favorite ways to encourage kids to be creative is by collaborating with them on projects. A simple but rewarding way to do this is by embroidering their artwork onto fabric; making it a usable keepsake. In the past I've stitched my sons' artwork onto journals, t-shirts and even a birthday card pillow for Nana. The possibilities for this technique are endless, including incorporating it into your Halloween celebration!
This year, sweeten a Trick or Treat tote with scary sketches done by your little devils. Kiddos will feel proud displaying their talents, and parents will have a crafty record of darlings' doodles to save for years to come. Oh and if you've never embroidered before, no problem! This project requires only using one, easy stitch: the back stitch. Here's everything you'll need to know to make one of these boo-tiful bags yourself!
Paper & Pencil (for child's drawing)
Plain, Canvas Tote Bag
Assorted Colors, Embroidery Floss
Transfer Paper (found in art supply aisle at craft store)
Note: Be sure to buy light colored transfer paper if you're working with a dark, tote bag and dark paper for lighter versions.
"Fracking Stine" (aka Frankenstein) artwork by Tristan, age 7. Ghost artwork by Tanner, age 9.Project How-To
- Ask your child to draw a simple, picture of something Halloween-related. The less detailed the drawing, the easier it is to translate into an embroidered image.
Back Stitch Tutorial
- Lay transfer paper, face down on tote bag. Lay drawing, face up on top of transfer paper. Using a pencil, stylus or anything pointy (a knitting needle, works great), firmly trace over drawing. Image should now be transferred onto tote bag front.
- Place tote bag front in embroidery hoop. Back stitch over transferred image outline.
Psst! Got older kids? Have them do the embroidery themselves!
Step 1: Knot embroidery thread end. Starting from the backside of the piece, come up through fabric at Point A (just pick a starting point on the outline).
Step 2: Come back down with your needle at Point B (about 1/8" from Point A--stitches do not need to be exact); pull thread through. Your first stitch is now complete!
Step 3: Come up through the back at Point C; pull thread through. Your second stitch is now complete!
Repeat Step 3, coming up through the fabric about 1/8" from the stitch before, until design is finished. Knot end. Snip thread.
VickiePsst! Make this craft? We'd love to see a picture of it...and we're sure others would too! Join the Craft Apparent Flickr group and upload photos of you're awesome Craft Apparent Crafts!
(L-R: Strong Man, Munchkin, Wee Witch & Baby Sasquatch Costumes)
Hey there and welcome to the very first article on the PBS Parents' CRAFT APPARENT blog! I'm Vickie Howell, and I'll be your guide to all things craft-- with and for your kiddos. As the mother of 7 & 9 year old boys and a 4-month-old girl, I'm inspired on a daily basis by my children. They're often my creative muses as well as both recipients and collaborators on projects I make. Like most parents though, I struggle to juggle family with life's other obligations. There's not a lot of time and in this economy especially, not a lot of extra money--if we're going to nourish our creative sides, then it needs to fit into both our schedules and our budgets. CRAFT APPARENT is right there with you; focusing on get-crafty projects for you and your kids that only require a little bit of time and cash!
Today I'm showing how to create unique and adorable costumes for your little goblin; all beginning with a plain, white snap suit (ya know, those one-piece rompers that have a name that's trademarked ;-)). They're easy to assemble (with both sew & no-sew options), can be made in a few hours, and all cost under $20. Hooray for Halloween!
Here's the scoop.
Basic Materials (all costumes)
White, Baby Snap Suit
Fabric Glue, Sewing Machine OR Needle & Thread (your choice)
Model: Quinn Corcoran
Strong Man Extra Materials
Pot of Coffee
1/8-1/4" yd Leopard Fabric (depending on size)
Black Embroidery Thread & Needle
Small Amount, Black Yarn & Felt
Strong Man How-To
- Naturally dye snap suit by simmering on the stove top, in a large pot filled with 8-10 cups of already made coffee. The longer you let it soak, the darker the snap suit's "skin tone" will be. Rinse thoroughly; let dry.
- To make leopard front, lay a small piece of fabric over snap suit. Using a marker, trace the outline of an over-the-shoulder-type loin cloth on top of fabric (Doesn't need to be perfect!); add 1/4" around. Cut out.
Fold over rough edges 1/4" & press with iron to create hem. Glue or sew hems.
Machine, hand-sew or glue leopard piece to snap suit at the crotch, sides and shoulder. Make sure to leave a little bit of give room for baby belly!
- To make chest sprouts, use needle to pull knotted pieces of embroidery thread through from the underside of snap suit. Snip pieces to about 1". Rub between fingers to fray.
- To make mini-barbell, braid 3, 10" bunches of yarn; knot at both ends. Cut out 4, small circles (juice glasses make a great template) of black felt. Sandwich yarn between 2 felt circles and glue or sew together. Repeat on opposite end.
Model: Clover Campbell
Munchkin Extra Materials
1/8"-1/4" Solid Color Fabric (depending on size)
Small Piece, Patterned Fabric
Fusible Tape (Optional: Only for a no-sew version)
1 yd., 1" Wide Ribbon
Small Amount, Green Tulle
2 Buttons (optional)
Scraps of RicRac, Lace and/or other Embellishments
White Craft Paint & Sponge Brush
Hot Glue Gun & Glue Stick
- To make skirt, measure around baby's waist to give you measurement "x". Multiply "x" by 2. That number will give you the pre-gathered, skirt width "y". Cut "y" x 9"(length) piece of solid color fabric. Note: Add 1"-2" in length for older babies.
Cut 7"x 9" (or whatever the length of other piece is) piece of contrasting fabric.
Hem sides and bottoms of both pieces by pressing 1/2" and sewing, gluing or using fusible tape to secure.
Center contrasting piece on solid fabric; fold top edge of both pieces over 1 1/2" and sew or glue or fuse (using 1 1/4" seam allowance) to secure. This will create a ribbon channel.
Use safety pin to feed ribbon through channel. Gather skirt, tie a bow and trim ribbon.
- Decorate snap suit by attaching decorative RicRac & ruffle to collar & sleeves. Hand-sew buttons to bodice. Important: Do not glue--buttons are a choking hazard if not secure!
- To make flower pot head piece, paint plastic cup. Let dry. Embellish with Ric-Rac at top and bottom of cup.
- Cover inside bottom of cup with liberal amount of hot glue. Place flower in center; stuff in tulle. Hot glue flower pot to headband.
Model: Talullah Boehk
Wee Witch Extra Materials
Black, Washing Machine Fabric Dye (iDye, RIT, etc.)
1/4" Each, Orange & Black Tulle
2 Pieces, Orange, Stiff Craft Felt
2, 1 yd Pieces of Decorative Ribbon
Black Needle & Thread
Orange Thread (Optional)
RicRac, Ribbon, Sequin or other Embellishments
Wee Witch How-To
- Dye snap suit in washing machine, using black fabric dye and following manufacturer's instructions. Wash & let dry.
- Embellish onsie by sewing or gluing RicRa to collar. Hand-sew spider to sollar. Important: Do not glue--plastic spiders are a choking hazard if not secure!
- To make skirt, hold black & orange 1/4" yard tulle pieces together; fold in half length-wise.
Use a needle and thread to make a running stitch about 2" from fold. Pull on thread ends to gather.
Use safety pin to feed 1 piece of ribbon through channel. Gather skirt, tie a bow and trim ribbon.
Hand sew plastic spiders to skirt front.
Cut up skirt bottom to desired length--the more jagged the spookier!
- To make hat, use a dinner plate to trace a semi-circle onto orange felt. Cut out semi-circle, then cut it in half--you'll use just one of those pieces. Roll 1/4 circle piece into a cone. Hand sew or glue seam. Trace around the circumference of the cone opening onto the 2nd piece of felt. Center salad place over the circle you've just drawn and trace a larger circle around it. Cut out both outer & inner circles to create brim. With right sides facing, stick cone inside inner circle; glue or hand sew into place.
Glue buckle adornment onto hat, above brim.
Cut piece of ribbon in half; hand sew pieces evenly, to underside of brim.
Model: Clover Campbell
Baby Sasquatch Extra Materials
Brown, Washing Machine Fabric Dye (iDye, RIT, etc.)
1/2 yd, Tan, Faux Fur
1/4" Wide Baby Elastic
1/2" Wide Elastic
Scraps, Tan Fabric
Baby Sasquatch How-to
- Dye snap suit in washing machine, using brown fabric dye and following manufacturer's instructions. Wash & let dry.
- Use a marker to draw chest & belly shapes on the back of faux fur. Cut out. Glue or sew to snap suit front.
- To make legs, measure around the chunkiest part of baby's thigh; add 2" to that measurement. Measure length from thigh to heel. Using those measurements, cut out 2 rectangle pieces of faux fur. Cut 1/4" wide elastic pieces to baby's thigh measurement (without adding extra 2").
Hem the top and bottom ends of one rectangle by folding raw edges over 1/2" and machine or hand sewing. Use safety pin to feed elastic through top hem of piece. With right sides facing, fold faux fur in half width-wise. Machine or hand-sew up the back. Turn right side out. Repeat for other leg.
- To make headband, measure baby's head; add 2" to that measurement giving you measurement "x". Cut out faux fur strip that measures 2" by "x". With right sides facing, fold strip in half width wise. Seam up; turn right side out.
Cut piece of elastic to baby's head measurement (without adding extra 2"). Feed elastic through headband; fold in half and sew ends together to form a circle.
Psst! Make this craft? We'd love to see a picture of it...and we're sure others would too! Join the Craft Apparent Flickr group and upload photos of you're awesome Craft Apparent Crafts!